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Townsville tiny tots get best start to life

New cots designed for premature babies will allow parents to provide more skin-to-skin contact and cuddles to help their tiny tots grow while they are in the special care unit.

New cots designed for premature babies will allow parents to provide more skin-to-skin contact and cuddles to help their tiny tots grow while they are in the special care unit.

An average of 50 babies are born prematurely at Mater Mothers’ Private Townsville each year and the two new neocots, donated by Mater Foundation, are the latest in technology for the care of underweight and critically ill babies.

Mater Mothers’ Private Townsville Patient Care Manager Deanna Ward said the height of the new cots was adjustable, allowing parents to get closer and be more hands-on with their babies.
“Parents of neonates in the special care unit are encouraged to handle their babies from the beginning, which can be really daunting for some,” Ms Ward said.

“The new neocots make it easier for mums and dads to get close to their babies and handle them. When parents feel they can be close, they often spend more time in the nursery.”

Ms Ward said research revealed skin-to-skin contact with premature babies helped to settle the nervous system, improve cognitive control, regulate body temperature, encourage sleep and assist with breastfeeding.

“There are also many benefits for parents including a decreased incidence of post-natal depression and an increased bonding with their baby,” she said.

The neocots are multifunctional and can be used for bathing, transporting and sleeping.
Mater Foundation Executive Director Andrew Thomas said supporting families of premature and critically ill babies was the main focus of Mater Little Miracles, a program funded by the Foundation to invest in life-saving research, care and equipment.

“Each year, Mater Mothers’ Neonatal Critical Care Units (NCCU) support more than 2 000 premature and critically ill babies around Queensland,” he said.

“A premature baby spends an average of 18 days in the NCCU before being able to go home and it’s vital that parents and babies are able to bond in that time.

“Donations to Mater Little Miracles helps ensure that all babies have the care they need to grow up to be happy and healthy children.”

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